Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Conduit of Love

The sermon today was on imagination--imagine a new world where no one is hungry or filled with despair. That kind of thing. It's the first Sunday of the month, so we celebrated Communion. Sort of. Toward the end of the service, he asked us to imagine, in solidarity with the poor and those who are suffering this day--to imagine that the loaf and cup are really there, that we are really taking Communion. He asked everyone to come forward and, although the plate was actually bare and the cup empty, to nevertheless hold out their hands as he and I gave them, not tangible bread or juice, but a blessing. Everyone was asked to open themselves to imagine receiving.

I thought the idea was innovative. But I never imagined (no pun intended) how powerful, how incredibly meaningful it would be for me to give each person who approached a real blessing..."This is the bread of life, Mary (or whoever). This is the cup of grace and blessing, given to remind you of how much you are loved. Go now in peace to serve the Lord." Most people made eye contact with me as I spoke these words. I love that. It's almost as if I can feel God loving them through me. And when their eyes remain open I can often see them receive that love. Honestly.

This morning I experienced the reality that is ever-present but hidden, the reality just behind that gossamer veil, the really Real.

What made the morning even more special was that David came to the service. (He's usually at his own church, the one we were married in and which has been through some tough conflict this year.) But this morning he came because he wanted to have communion. When his time came in the line, he surprised me with a "holy kiss" (so to speak) before I gave him the blessing.

~smile~

9 comments:

mompriest said...

sounds like a very sweet communion...

Jennifer said...

What a string of meaningful occasions...blessings, all.

Keith Herron said...

There's always a mystery whenever we gather at the table. Emptied handed or not, there's something for everyone! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the site today.
kh

Anonymous said...

How inspiring! Isn't it a visit with the play potential of our childhood? Doesn't it illustrate why children are "of the kingdom of heaven"? And perhaps most important: doesn't it illustrate the significance of body language as a part of the total communication, the Logos so inadequately translated as Word? Powerpoint and the dead things it presents to us are perhaps really as dangerous to us moderns as the "graven images" were to the Israeli congregation who browbeat their leader, Aaron, to make one for them.

INTPanentheist said...

This makes it difficult for me to understand how people act as if Christianity isn't a mystery religion. Maybe they just don't look hard enough for the mysteries, because they're there.

Purple said...

I am putting this one in my worship idea file. I love tying this to the imagination.

RJ said...

I love the deep passion you share in your writing, Katherine. And the joy, hope and humanity you struggle with, too. Blessings as Advent matures.

wherethewind.com said...

It struck me when you mentioned eye contact. When I share communion at church, I try to look the recipient (who is usually kneeling) in the eye. Sometimes, they return my gaze. Sometimes, they are looking ahead but not up at me. Sometimes, their heads are bowed. When I give to little children, I bend down to reach them, and they almost always look me in the eye. Making that connection with another through the body and blood of Christ is what communion is all about. "The cup of blessing that we bless," says Paul, "is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?" Thanks for your post!

Wayne Hawley said...

This reminds me of a story on the Easter Sunday devotional, p 143 of A Guide To Prayerby Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck. It was a quote from Thomas G. Pettepiece in Viaiona oF a World Hungry, about taking an invisible communion in prison. They had no bread or wine, but acted as though they had. They blessed it with words that brought their suffering for justice in light of Christ's suffering, then they passed along their empty hands, with the words of institution. they all raised their hands to their mouths at the same time, they gave thanks and embraced. Non Christian prisoners kept noise up so the guards wouldn't guess what Christians were doing. One non Chrisitian said, "You peole have something special, which I would like to have." the father of the dead girl came up to me and said: "Pastor, this was a real experience! I believe that today I discovered what faith is. Now, I believe that I am on the road".....Makes you wonder how we unimprisoned christians and denominations can trivially argue about the nature of the elements, when these saints had invisible ones Jesus in relationships. Wayne Hawley16